Gardiner Street News, Activities, Events...
Community, devotional, liturgical, educational - Some highlights shown here to give a flavour of the activities in the parish through the year.
MAY - JUNE
Novena in honour of the Sacred Heart - 30th May to 7th June - Homily Fr Paddy Carberry SJ
See also our Sacred Heart Devotion Page click here.
Easter Vigil & Easter Family Mass
Paschal fire burns brightly.
Easter Family Mass
Easter Garden after the Family Mass on Easter Sunday
Novena of Grace in honour of St Francis Xavier - 4th - 12th March - Homily Fr Vincent Vaz SJ
Sometimes traditional customs lose their sense of origin and purpose They can become meaningless and there can be a sense of doing things for the sake of doing them. Not so with a tradition at Gardiner Street Church which is centuries old. The Novena of Grace in honour of St Francis Xavier is still going strong. Still drawing the crowds. Still very special and retaining an essence that is timeless and has to be experienced to be understood. There is an energy and spirituality that is uplifting and inspirational.
Fr Vincent Vaz SJ has come from India to preach at this Novena and is wonderful – bringing the scriptures to life with his homilies – making the event extra special with his singing. We are very lucky to have him. Fr Vincent talks about the great generosity of the people in the parish where he works and delights with captivating stories about his native Goa. St Francis Xavier has ‘superhero’ status in this beautiful country and it is here in the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa that the mortal remains of this great saint are to be found. The music at the Novena is perfect – Margaret Brennan’s and Cathy Keane’s voices are haunting singing traditional and new hymns. The rousing recessional anthem hymn to St Francis Xavier is all the more powerful with the organ accompaniment provided by Denice Doyle, following on beautiful violin solos. The Novena is a first for some and maybe a fiftieth or eightieth or more for others. Whether it is the morning light streaming across the transept and illuminating the sanctuary or the candlelight at the evening services, even these elements conspire to make this an experience not to be missed. Click for more about the Novena
Photo above shows Fr Vincent Vaz SJ - at Gardiner Street Church on 7th March
Photos taken after Novena mass on Sunday:- Family from the parish; Standing Room only-even in side chapels and aisles; Family from the parish; Fr Fergus O'Donoghue SJ wearing rose coloured Laetare Sunday (4th Sunday of Lent) vestments.
Blessing with Relic of St Francic Xavier; Photo from previous Novena Mass; St Francis Xavier Shrine adorned with flowers brought in by people attending the Novena
Crowds at Morning Mass; Cuppa and Chat afterwards; Petitions being read before mass
Adult Faith Series
Adult faith development lecture series presented by Donal Harrington author of 'Christianity at its Best' and other books, and teacher at All Hallows College.
5th-Faith of the Heart | 12th-Faith of the Head | 19th-Faith in the Feet | 26th-Reflective Evening
For further information on adult faith development at Gardiner Street please click here.
Tuesday 26th February - Reflective Evening
On the final evening of the lecture series the course presenter, Donal Harrington, pulled together some of the strands from each of the evenings and explored what Faith/faith means. Atheists live by good values and they proclaim not to believe in God but what do they believe in? What do we believe in? If Faith is a gift – and it is experienced as such by many – then is there some unfairness that not all are gifted so? He read Brendan Kennelly’s poem ‘The Gift’
It came slowly/ Afraid of insufficient self-content/ Or some inherent weakness in itself./ Small and hesitant/ Like children at the tops of stairs./ It came through shops, rooms, temples streets,/ Places that were poorly lit./ It was a gift that took me unawares/ And I accepted it.
We explored a painting by Velasquez. Interestingly, it wasn’t until this painting was cleaned and restored that the figures in the top left hand corner became visible. The girl appears to be listening intently to the conversation. We were invited to imagine what she might be hearing.
Course participants had got some ‘homework’ the previous week – a hand-out with questions that asked questions such as where did our faith come from/ what were the breakthroughs/high points/struggles and what image came to mind. We broke into small groups to talk about these things. Looking back on the evening it would be nice to think that somehow the girl in Velasquez painting was straining to hear what we were saying.
Kitchen Maid with Supper at Emmaus (painted c 1617-1618) - Diego Velázquez (1599-1660) - National Gallery of Ireland
Tuesday 19th February - Faith in the Feet
Donal brought along a painting depicting Jesus washing Peter’s feet. Bread and wine are on the table behind the two figures. The painting gives prominence to the action of Jesus. The Eucharist is important but so too are all the other hours of the day and week as this is where we live out what we believe. As his time on earth was coming to an end Jesus shows us the example we are to follow – that of prayer and humble service.
Faith in action isn’t something additional to what we believe - it is so much part of it that one cannot be sustained without the other. Donal illustrated the relationship between faith in the head/heart and faith in action by placing a book on the edge of a table – the book is cantilevered and remains in balance - it can be pushed out further but only to the point where the amount it reaches in matches the outreach. God can reach out infinitely as there is no end to his depths.
Living what we believe is not limited to ministries we only associate with the Church. The lady who had reared six children and had approached the priest to say that now she wanted to do something for God was an example cited by one of the group – being a parent was the work that God had given yet the lady didn’t recognise this herself because of the perception of what faith in action is.
The presentation touched on many references to the intrinsic nature of action to our faith. The Old Testament refers to the importance of how we live our lives and not just giving burnt offerings. (Amos 5:21-22). On justice he says ‘Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream’ (Amos 5:24)
Handouts were provided with many thought provoking quotations linking to the presentation.
Mary appears to us here as the first missionary,
the first human being to bring the good news
of Jesus Christ to another;
and she does it simply carrying Christ within her
She reminds us that mission begins
not in delivering a message in words
but in the journey towards another person
with Jesus in your heart
She testifies to the primary importance
of simply carrying Jesus
even before there are words or deeds
to show or explain him.
Taken from sermon of Dr Rowan Williams at the International Mass at the Sanctuary of Our Lady at Lourdes in September 2008
Every Christian is called to proclaim the Gospel and if necessary to use words – St Francis of Assisi
Tuesday 12th February - Faith of the Head
Expecting to come away with heads full of facts – we instead came away with understanding. Donal Harrington has a way of presenting information that somehow is like planting little seeds of knowledge. When you think back over the talk each little gem of wisdom glows. All in one short hour, he referred to various books – quoting for instance from the Cloud of Unknowing –“All rational beings, angels and men, possess two faculties, the power of knowing, and the power of loving. To the first, to the intellect, God who made them is forever unknowable, but to the second, to love, He is completely knowable.” He used poetry and paintings to communicate so much more information. And on top of all that we chatted to the people sitting around us.
On the matter of Faith in the Head and what we believe, he noted that our understanding of many concepts is coloured by the dogmas which started to develop in the 4th Century. This development grew out of symbolic language which was used convey the actual experience of the first Christians. Somehow this connection is lost and we are left with legalistic language and little to relate this to the context from which this grew. Engaging with the Gospel can change this.
It’s a long way off but inside it
There are quite different things going on:
Festivals at which the poor man
Is king and the consumptive is
Healed; mirrors in which the blind look
At themselves and love looks at them
Back; and industry is for mending
The bent bones and the minds fractured
By life. It’s a long way off, but to get
There takes no time and admission
Is free, if you will purge yourself
Of desire, and present yourself with
Your need only and the simple offering
Of your faith, green as a leaf.
From R.S. Thomas, Collected Poems 1945-1990, page 233
Rubelev Trinity – we were kindly provided copies of this famous icon – the composition draws the viewer’s eye in a semicircle – the circle is completed by the viewer – we are part of God’s plan.
Tuesday 5th February - Faith of the Heart
As part of the presentation, Donal led the group through a lovely meditation where each selected a stone - visualising that as the stone is shaped by the environment each of us is formed and shaped by our lives - with all the bumps and hollows, rough and smooth. God holds us in the palm of his hand and knows us and loves us. This meditation followed on from his introduction which took some of the Old Testament imagery of God as a rock and stronghold. Drawing on the theme of the lecture 'faith of the heart' he focused on the nature of being faithful - on trust in God. This trusting and faithfulness is brought to life in Jesus. He spoke about some of the ways that faith of the heart is experienced. As in human relationships - it is a simple matter of spending time together. God is ever present but in prayer we bring this into our awareness. Prayers of love and adoration, praise, thanks, asking for help, pouring out our sorrows, silence etc. He noted a useful reminder - "In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart."
Inaugural Cardinal Martini Memorial Lecture at Gardiner Street Church on 21st January